Brand Activism – Carrefour’s The Black Supermarket


Consumers now want businesses to deliver trustworthy information, take a stand on social problems, and give back to society.

The agrochemical lobby in Europe and many other places around the globe sanctioned a particular set of hybrid kinds of seeds that are approved to grow. And this comprised just 3% of fruits and vegetables produced. This is because they’re patented and lucrative. The remaining 97% was deemed unlawful. If a farmer fell in the 97% category, he would have to pay enormous penalties that would make him bankrupt.

To put a stop to this, France’s Carrefour decided to be an activist and launched The Black Supermarket. A market where ‘illegal’ fruits and vegetables are openly maintained on shelves for sale. It was a major act in favour of farmers and biodiversity since 3% of those allowed seeds hurt the environment, and are not eco-friendly.

These stores showed 600 kinds of fruits and vegetables that were banned in huge herbariums with banners of growers who had been sued by agrochemical lobbies.

Visitors were invited to sign a petition to amend the legislation – receiving over 85,000 signatures. Carrefour further disregarded the law by negotiating a five-year deal with these illegal farmers and even invited opinion leaders to a signature ceremony.

The Black Supermarket campaign established a seed of a changing perspective and awareness of Carrefour as a brand that exists for the well-being of farmers and end customers. To the degree that it is even ready to pay substantial penalties for selling unlawful versions of seeds, fruits and vegetables that are organic, eco-friendly, farmer-friendly, and health-friendly.

The promotion increased store visits by 15% and produce sales by 10%. Though unexpected, the advertising had an effect. Seven months later the EU repealed the ban regulation, yet sustainability remained a prominent subject that is constantly changing.

A less active government would also pay farm workers well because they would be able to give customers exactly what they want instead of making too much of what the government wants and losing money on goods that don’t sell.

Marcel, the agency behind this amazing Carrefour campaign, knew how to build a campaign that would alter lives.

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